The Association of Retired Conservationists was organized by a group of retirees from the Wisconsin Conservation Department in the 1960's. By the mid-1970's, the WCD had been combined with the Department of Resource Development to form the Department of Natural Resources, and the retirees group had grown significantly, met monthly for lunch and began inviting speakers to address the group on issues of interest to the members. Today, the organization has more than two hundred members.

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What's New in 2020?

Member SinceNameYears of ServiceDiv/Bureau
DecemberSue Joseph30Water

Blattner, Thomas

Thomas Michael Blattner, age 77, passed away peacefully on July 10, 2020 in Mazomanie, WI due to pancreatic cancer.

He was born January 1, 1943 in Milwaukee to Sylvia and Edward Blattner. He attended Blessed Sacrament Grade School and Don Boscoe High School. Initially he attended Marquette while working as a draftsman for GE, eventually transferring to UW-Milwaukee where he graduated with a BS in chemistry.

His first job after graduation was as a research chemist for Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company. He also worked at Bordon Foods before beginning the favorite chapter of his career: UW-Madison. Tom was hired as academic staff to manage Babcock Hall dairy plant, teach, and do research. For 22 years he proudly taught the farm short course in dairy processing. By retirement in 2008 he had advanced to administration in the food science department and achieved emeritus status. He often said it was the best job he ever had, and he truly valued and appreciated his clever and considerate coworkers.

He was an active member of St Francis Xavier Catholic Church, having served on the picnic committee and parish council, and was a member of the Knight’s of Columbus and the St Vincent de Paul Society. He also volunteered at Sauk Prairie Hospital, St Vincent Food Pantry, and RSVP by bringing people to their appointments. Woodworking, hiking, astronomy, chess, classical and bluegrass music, travel and photography were some of his many interests. He was a commonsense and practical self-taught handyman for his and his children’s homes. He tried to never miss getting together with the Mazomanie ROMEOs or Madison Bike and Bowl.

It was at a party for a departing serviceman in the summer of 1965 that he met Barbara Ann Brill. Immediately they knew this also was chemistry. They were married in January 1969, and commemorated 50 years together in 2019 with a fantastic party of family and friends gathered over a lifetime.

His absolute proudest accomplishment were his children and grandchildren. He was dearly loved and will be terribly missed by Rebecca Ann (Eric) Powers, Zachary, Colby and Isaac; Jennifer Elizabeth (Thomas) Wankerl, Solomon, Scarlett, Haven, Violet, Opal and Hazel; Peter Michael Blattner and Benton; and Kathryn Therese (Benjamin) Seibel, Maxwell, Theresa, Samuel and Nora. He is survived by Margaret (Daniel) Nencka and Richard (Shari) Blattner. He was preceded in death by siblings Mildred (Sebastian) Bea, James (Lori), John (Cathy), and Charles.

A private service was held July 18, exactly 55 years after first meeting Barbara. Interment at St Francis Xavier columbarium, Cross Plains, WI.

Perhaps they are not stars in the sky, but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy. – proverb

Riley, Julia Bledsoe,

Julia Bledsoe Riley, age 66, of Madison, took her own life on Thursday, June 25, 2020. She had been suffering from chronic illnesses for many years, with escalating pain. She was born on Aug. 27, 1953, in Compton, Calif., the daughter of Lloyd Bledsoe and Marjorie (Trebil) Bledsoe. Julia was beloved by a wide circle of family, friends and colleagues who will miss her dearly.

Julia graduated from Cornell University and served the public for many years at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, where she helped communities

across Wisconsin protect the quality of their water. Julia was a devoted Girl Scout Leader, Qigong Master, and intrepid world traveler. Julia was deeply spiritual and had a strong affinity for nature and the outdoors. She especially enjoyed spending time in the Pheasant Branch Conservancy.

Julia is survived by her daughter, Hannah Riley (Aneidys) Reyes; grandson, Aramis Reyes; brother-in-law Vince Dutcher; nephew Cole Dutcher; and former husband, David Riley (Colette Sisco). She was preceded in death by her father, Lloyd Bledsoe; mother, Marjorie Bledsoe; brother, Stanley Bledsoe; sister, Linda Dutcher; and beloved dog Lettie.

An online memorial will be held on Friday, July 3, 2020, at 1 p.m. CDT via a Zoom link. Please check back on the Gunderson website to get the link. In lieu of flowers or other gifts, please consider making a donation in Julia’s memory to the Friends of Pheasant Branch Conservancy, Middleton, Wis., or an organization of your choice. Online condolences may be made at

Gunderson East
Funeral & Cremation Care
5203 Monona Drive
(608) 221-5420

Dumke, Robert 'Bob'

Robert “Bob” T. Dumke, age 76, a resident of Webb Lake passed away on Thursday, June 11, 2020.

Bob was born on June 17, 1943 in Minneapolis, MN to parents; Willard and Carol Dumke.

Bob was a 1961 graduate of West High in Minneapolis. He went on to the University of MN where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Management in 1966. He worked for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources as the Bureau Director for the biologist of wildlife research for over 30 years.

Bob loved everything about the outdoors. He enjoyed hunting, fishing and loved hiking in Arizona. He enjoyed life and sharing his passions of bird and model trains. Bob’s love of family, friends and nature poured from his soul through his words, actions and teachings.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and son, Scott.

He will be forever missed by his loving wife of 52 years, Pat; children, Brian (Christine) Dumke; sister, Jean Hasbrook; grandchildren, Nolan, Owen, and Addilynn; niece, Molly Hasbrook; nephew, Chad (Lisa) Hasbrook; great niece, Kailee; great nephew, Carter; along with other relatives and friends.

A service will be held at a later date.

Arrangements were entrusted to Swedberg-Taylor Funeral Home, Webster.

Online condolences can be made at

Gottwald, Paul J.

Paul Joseph Gottwald, age 88, passed away on June 1, 2020. Paul was born on April 5, 1932, to John and Mary (Moha) Gottwald in Wakefield, MI. He attended school in Wakefield, MI, and continued his education at Michigan College of Mining and Technology earning a degree in Forestry Management.

On June 25, 1955, he married Eileen Anne Bertie in Wakefield, MI. They moved to Fort Leonard Wood, MO, while Paul served his country as a
commissioned officer in the U.S. Army. Paul’s 35-year career with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources moved his family from Tomahawk to Medford to Park Falls to Marinette and finally back to Park Falls where he concluded his career as the DNR Area Director, retiring in 1989.

He and Eileen realized one of their life’s dreams when they built their forever home on the shores of the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage, where they enjoyed their retirement years with family and friends.

He was very devoted to his Lord and his family, passing along his love for God’s great outdoors, camping, fishing and traveling. He was active in his church and his community (Boy Scout leadership, Town of Sherman volunteer firefighter, Iron County Board of Supervisors Chairman).

Paul is survived by Eileen, his wife of 65 years, and their five children: Paul (Jane) of Eau Claire; Mark (Jane) of Duluth, MN; Michael (Jean) of Park Falls; Joanne (Bill) Flood of Marathon; and Jennifer (David Sherlock) of Mt. Horeb. He is also survived by 11 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother John Gottwald, his sister Mary Mahnke and his infant son, Karl.

A memorial mass will be held Saturday, June 13th at 11:00 a.m. at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Park Falls.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any memorials be made to St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Park Falls.

The family would like to thank the staff of Park Manor River’s Edge in Park Falls for the loving care and support they provided during Paul’s last days.

Bolger Cremation and Funeral Services in Minocqua is assisting with arrangements.

Bancroft, Genevieve "Gen"

Bancroft, Genevieve "Gen" Gen Bancroft, age 89, passed away peacefully at home June 2, 2020.

Gen was born Jan. 20, 1931, to Frank and Sophia Richwalski in East Chicago, Ind. She married William J. Bancroft Feb. 9, 1954. Together they raised two daughters, Ann Bancroft and Sara Bancroft, on their farm in Dekorra.

Bill and Gen met at UW-Madison. Their first date was an early morning flight in Bill’s Stinson plane.

This was the beginning of a journey filled with wanderlust. Gen was passionate about rocks, guns and her grandkids, Dawson Bancroft Short and William Bancroft Short. She graduated from UW-Madison with a degree in geology. She was a member of the Hoofers and climbed at Devil’s Lake. Her favorite memory was climbing the Grand Teton in the early 1950’s.

Gen is survived by her daughters, Ann Bancroft-Bohling (Dan) and Sara Bancroft-Short (Paul); grandchildren, Dawson Bancroft-Short (Lily) and William Bancroft-Short; as well as many special nieces, nephews and friends. She was preceded in death by her husband, William Bancroft; her brothers, Ed Richwalski and Frank Richwalski; and her sister, Adele Richwalski.

Her family will return her to the Mountain Top, in lieu of a funeral. A celebration of life will be held for family at a later date.

Memorials may be made to the Columbia County Alzheimer Alliance Group. The family would like to thank Agrace HospiceCare for their guidance and support the last two weeks. The Pflanz Mantey Mendrala Funeral Home in Portage is assisting the family.

See Gen's ARC Profile here.

James (Jim) Michael Hughes

James, 68, died by suicide on Tuesday, May 19, at his home.

He was born October 11, 1951, in Fort Leonard Wood, MO, to Ed and Lorraine (Chirhart) Juza (later changed to Hughes). Jim lived most of his life in Madison, graduating from Memorial High School, Madison Area Technical College, and the University of Wisconsin School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Jim served in the U.S. Army and was retired from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Air Management Program.

Jim loved the outdoors and was a long-time natural areas volunteer who worked to restore native oak savanna, wetlands, and prairie with the Friends of Cherokee Marsh, Dane County Parks, Madison Parks, and the Wisconsin DNR.

Jim is survived by his wife of 38 years, Jan Axelson, sister Mary Hughes (Krieg) Hoddinott, brother Kevin (Diane) Hughes, and his nephews, niece, cousins, and other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his brother Kenneth and his parents.

The family will announce a gathering at a future date. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Wisconsin Public Radio or the Foundation for the Dane County Parks Endowment Fund. To view and sign this guestbook, please visit:

Ryan Funeral Home & Cremation Services
2418 N. Sherman Avenue

Howard "Stan" Druckenmiller

Howard S. “Stan” Druckenmiller, age 75, passed away peacefully on May 4, 2020 at Agrace Hospice in Fitchburg. Stan was born in Washington DC, to Howard Druckenmiller and Sylvia (Johnston) Druckenmiller. He met his wife Jean while attending Colorado State University. They married in 1966. After graduating from CSU in 1968, Stan and Jean moved to Madison where he began his career as a Fisheries Manager for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

During his 32-year career with DNR, Stan rose through the ranks, becoming a Bureau Director, Division Administrator and Executive Assistant to the Secretary. His many accomplishments included establishment of the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program that provides major funding for acquiring land for parks, natural areas, forests, hunting, fishing and recreation. He also built partnerships with nonprofit Land Trusts and local governments to protect and manage Wisconsin’s most sensitive landscapes.

Stan was a key leader in creating the Lower Wisconsin Riverway to preserve the scenic value and ecological integrity of the wild, undeveloped 92-mile free-flowing segment of the Wisconsin River. As Director of the Bureau of Environmental Impact, Stan supervised review of numerous projects including siting of coal and nuclear power plants, routing oil/gas lines, high-voltage transmission lines, highways, airports and mining projects. Stan was always a man of principle who left a lasting legacy by bettering Wisconsin’s management and protection of its natural resources.

Stan enjoyed wood working, reading, photography, volunteering for the Friends of Wisconsin Public Television, Madison Audubon, Habitat for Humanity and spending time with family. He is survived by his wife, Jean; son, Dr. Patrick (Lisa) Druckenmiller; granddaughter Maggie and brother Vic (Nancy). He was preceded in death by his parents Howard and Sylvia Druckenmiller and his sister Patricia.

He will be profoundly missed by his family, former colleagues, and fellow volunteers. The family wishes to thank UW Health, Agrace Hospice Care and their staff who tenderly cared for Stan in his final months. Memorials may be made to Madison Audubon/Goose Pond Sanctuary, Dane County Humane Society, or PBS Wisconsin. Due to current health restrictions, a Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.

Ryan Funeral Home
Madison, WI 53719

Glen Lee Nelson

Glenn Lee Nelson, age 89, passed away on Friday, April 17, 2020, at New Perspective in Sun Prairie. He was born on Oct. 14, 1930, in Kenosha, the son of Gotfred and Oline (Curtiss) Nelson.

Glenn graduated from Wilmot High School in 1948 and Beloit College in 1954. He served in the U.S. Army from June 1955 until his honorable discharge in June 1957. He married Shirley Schmidt on Jan. 20, 1951, in Dubuque, Iowa.

Glenn worked as a personnel manager for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, retiring in 1989. He was an avid golfer, loved watching the Packers, Badgers and Cubs, and was a proud Green Bay Packers Shareholder.

Glenn is survived by his three daughters, Barbara (Chuck) Carter, Cyndy DePrimo, and Cathy (John) Jellings; son, Curtiss (Kelly) Nelson; granddaughters, Erika Carter and Pam (Jim) Chapman; grandson, Nate Nelson; great-grandchildren, Sam Chapman and Jessica Chapman; and sister, Joyce (Len) Toepper. He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Shirley; brother, Keith Nelson; sister, Jean Lyons; and son-in-law, Anthony “Tony” S. DePrimo.

Burial will be held at Highland Memory Gardens. A public celebration of life will be planned for a later date. Glenn’s family would like thank Dr. Leo Schug and Agrace HospiceCare for the kind and compassionate care they gave him. Online condolences may be made at

Gunderson East
Funeral & Cremation Care
5203 Monona Drive
(608) 221-5420

Eric P. Syftestad

Eric P. Syftestad On Monday, April 13, 2020, Eric P. Syftestad passed away peacefully at Agrace Hospice & Palliative Care, in Madison, Wis., at the age of 61, surrounded by the love of his family.

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Eric was predeceased by his father, Paul Syftestad, and will be sadly missed by his mother, Jean, and siblings, Karin, Kristin, Peter (Kristin) and Paul (Jill).

Nieces and nephews, Kristina, Christopher, Lezer, Emma, Claire, Olivia, Kathryn, and many other extended family and friends will remember Eric fondly.

Eric’s career spanned 34 years at Wisconsin Dept of Natural Resources (DNR) as a Waste Management Engineer. His avocations included refereeing Madison City League and High School basketball. Eric enjoyed conversation with family and friends, European travel, spectacular sunsets, the UW Campus and Memorial Union Terrace, and driving the Wisconsin countryside enjoying the charm of all the towns along the way. Eric embraced life, lived in the moment and enjoyed every day. He will be greatly missed by all of those who knew and loved him.

A private family service will be held at the Pflanz Mantey Mendrala Funeral Home in Portage. Interment of Eric’s cremated remains will be held at Silver Lake Cemetery. A “gathering” in honor of Eric will be planned at a later date as we are currently observing Covid-19 guidelines.

If so desired and as your expression of sympathy, memorial donations to the UW Carbone Cancer Center or Wis. Public TV would be appreciated and may be made directly or through the

Pflanz Mantey Mendrala Funeral Home
430 W. Wisconsin St.
Portage, Wis. 53901.

Annual spring fish & wildlife public hearing and WCC county meeting In-person meetings canceled.
Public input accepted online April 13-16

In light of COVID-19, the Wisconsin Conservation Congress (WCC) and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are closely following guidelines from the Department of Health Services (DHS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization (WHO).

We continue to receive the most up-to-date information, including new guidance from DHS which recommends canceling or postponing gatherings of 10 people or more to help protect Wisconsinites from the spread of COVID-19, particularly those who are most vulnerable to infection and severe disease.

As such, the in-person portion of the 72 public meetings known as the Spring Hearings that were to be held in each county on April 13 are canceled. The public will continue to have the opportunity to provide input on the natural resources advisory questions from the DNR, Natural Resources Board (NRB), and WCC through the online input option.

The online input option will go live at 7 p.m. on April 13 and will remain open for three days (72 hours).

Click here for 2020 Spring Hearing Online Input Opportunity

If you have questions or issues with the online input option or wish to submit a citizen resolution, please email:

The results will be posted as soon as they are available.

Robert O. Ellingson

Robert O. Ellingson Robert Ole Ellingson, 91, of the Town of New Hope, Amherst Junction, Wisconsin, passed away Sunday, February 16, 2020 . Bob was born in Iola, Wisconsin on May 18, 1928, a son of the late Myrtle (Roe) and Maurice J Ellingson. He married Beverly Jane Berg in 1950. She preceded him in death on March 11th, 2018.

Bob graduated from Iola High School in 1946. He graduated from UWSP in 1950 and served in the Korean War and was a Bronze Star recipient. He lived and taught high school in Marquette, Michigan for 2 years

(1954-1956), moved to Madison Wisconsin and worked for the Wisconsin Conservation Department for 34 years retiring in 1998. He served as chair for the Conservation Congress for several years. Bob & Bev moved to the family homestead in Amherst Jct. in 2001. Bob was active at the North New Hope Lutheran Church where he served as Council President and Sexton of the church cemetery. In 2007, he co-founded the annual "Drive Your Tractor To Church Sunday". His hobbies included hunting, fishing, gardening. He always looked forward to visiting with friends and spending time with his family, which was his pride and joy.

He is survived by five sons, Robert O. Ellingson Jr. and wife Pam of Lakewood, Wisconsin; Mark J. and wife Tammie of Amherst Junction, Wisconsin; Paul and wife Krissanne of Madison, Wisconsin; James and Cyndy of Blue Mounds, Wisconsin; David and wife Laura of Fitchburg, Wisconsin. 10 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren. Bob was also preceded in death by his siblings, John, Mary Olson, Richard and Sidney.

A Memorial Service for Bob will be held at North New Hope Lutheran Church at 11:00 AM on Friday, February 21st, with Reverend Michael Peuse officiating. Memorial Visitation will be held at the church on Friday 10:00 - 11:00 AM. Interment will be in the parish cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to North New Hope Lutheran Church Scholarship Endowment Fund and Cemetery Fund. Register Book and online condolences may be sent by visiting

Voie Funeral Home
120 S. Main St
Iola, WI. 54945